Water births

  1. Hello-
    My name is Kevin vanKoeverden; I am a nursing student at the University of North Dakota. I am currently doing my OB clinical and I have heard some nurse's talk about water births and it has caught my attention. My interest in this topic has grown as of late so I did some research on this area. I would appreciate your knowledge or your personal experience on this option for delivery.
    Gilbert and Tookey (1999) states that the similarity in perinatal mortality and morbidity in low risk women suggests that delivery in water does not substantially increase adverse perinatal outcomes and that clinical trials of labor in water showed no clear beneficial or adverse effects on the mother or baby. Reid (1994) noted that advantages for the woman include pain relief without analgesia, acceleration of labor, a lowering of BP, less perineal trauma and a general feeling that she is more in control, therefore leaving a lasting memory of a pleasant birth experience. Reid (1994) also notes negative effects of the mother can include increased infection, restriction of mobility, restriction of choice of analgesia, risk of water embolism and risk of postpartum hemorrhage. In addition, the child is at increased risk of infection, increased risk of admission to special care units and breathing difficulties (Reid, 1994). Johnson (1996) said that apart from significant pain and stress relief, it is obvious that a woman in water can move easily and choose to spontaneously vary her posture during labor, which she cannot do in a typical delivery room bed. He also says that being in water favors the various squatting positions which are common in unrestricted childbirth.
    Now hat I know a few things about water births, I am very interested to hear if anyone of you has dealt with this option for delivery. I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas that any of you have on this issue. Thank you, Kevin vanKoeverden, College of Nursing Student, University of North Dakota.
    Gilbert, R. E., & Tookey, P.A. (1999). Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water: surveillance and postal survey. BMJ, 319(7208), 483-487.
    Johnson, P. (1996). Birth under water-to breathe or not to breathe. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 103(3), 202-208.
    Reid, T. (1994). Water work. Nursing Times, 90(11), 26-30.
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